Saturday, March 4, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 4, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, following by a day the first American fighter formation to fly over Berlin, the first American bombers struck the city this date, bombing through a heavy cloud cover and -58º temperatures at high altitude, as other contingents hit targets in Eastern Germany for the first time since October 9. Above 16,000 feet, the bomber crews could "see for miles and miles".

Allied headquarters hinted that the raid might have constituted a record in size.

As the Germans evacuated Narva in Estonia, razing its buildings in the process, the Red Army penetrated the outskirts of Pskov, gateway city to the Baltic States.

In the Pacific, General MacArthur's landing forces on Los Negros Island in the Admiralties had now encountered stiff Japanese resistance as they moved a mile and three-quarters inland. The Japanese were receiving steady reinforcement from nearby Manus Island despite Allied air raids on their positions.

Bad weather continued to limit operations on the Anzio beachhead and on the Cassino front in Italy. Three weak German thrusts in the area around Carroceto were quickly repulsed.

German divisions present in the Anzio sector were now identified to include the Hermann Goering Division and the 715th Infantry Division, increasing to five divisions the number of Nazis present.

Asserting the belief that groups not in sympathy with the avowed pro-Western policy previously enunciated in January by the Government of Argentina were behind the change of power from President Pedro Ramirez to Vice-President Farrell, Acting Secretary of State Edward Stettinius indicated that the State Department would not have diplomatic relations with the Farrell regime, contingent upon future developments.

Olen Clements, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes from New Guinea of the perils of foxholes lying in wait for the overweight and diminutive. He also tells of "Bull Baker", a cook for the troops, who became smitten with a South Seas girl, bought her a pair of false teeth as a gift, and then, when he saw her out with another soldier, retrieved the teeth and kept them.

Near Hugo, Oklahoma, almost all of the animals escaped from the winter headquarters of the Al G. Kelly Circus, resulting in approximately $10,000 worth of damage to equipment and $75,000 worth of overall damage to property. None of the animals were wild, but four elephants destroyed seven trucks and trailers. Several buildings of a school were wrecked and five persons were injured.

It is most providential that none of the animals were wild.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the Senate, as Senator Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina, chair of a Senate agricultural subcommittee, led a unanimous vote to recommend that administrative assistant to the President, Jonathan Daniels, be cited for contempt of the Senate for refusing to testify regarding an investigation by the subcommittee of the Rural Electrification Administration, brought under scrutiny by claims of its prior head that he was pressured by Mr. Daniels to resign his post on three different occasions.

We strongly suspect that the name Jonathan Daniels was in the racist head of Cotton Ed inextricably linked with W. J. Cash; and the likes of Cotton Ed and his pal Robert Rice Reynolds in North Carolina had believed they had eliminated the ghost of W. J. Cash from the face of the earth two and a half years earlier. And then this other nigger-lover gets appointed by the President as his executive assistant.

There must be some way to get the little bastard.

Why sure, we shall just resort to the old tried and true Ku Klux Klan trick: He threatened me and harassed me, too! O God, it was awful. Why, I thought he would pull a gun. You know, people volatile like that are liable to do anything. Why, I had to tell my secretaries to keep an eye out for him. He even said, "Back off!" Have you ever? I was scared for my life. Look at that mug.

Oh, and also, let's make sure we misquote him with a spicy statement laced with rancor and hostility in words that he never actually uttered at all. That'll fix the little nigger-lover. So what if we lie? Nigger-lovers, by definition, lie in the face of God's will that all mankind shall be made white with purity, while those who are black must first be made white before they may be admitted to God's Kingdom in the Klavern here on earth.

A photograph appears of the winners on Thursday of the Best Actor and Actress Oscars of the year, Paul Lukas, for "Watch on the Rhine", and Jennifer Jones for her role in "The Song of Bernadette". In addition to Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay of Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, and Michael Curtiz as Director, each going to "Casablanca", the bell tolled for Charles Coburn as Best Supporting Actor in "The More the Merrier", and for Katina Paxinou as Best Supporting Actress in "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Each of the films of these major winners had also been nominated for Best Picture.

Best Story went to William Saroyan for "The Human Comedy", also nominated for Best Picture, a film recommended earlier in the year by Eleanor Roosevelt. Best Original Screenplay went to Norman Krasna for "Princess O'Rourke". Best Documentary was awarded to "Desert Victory". Best Short Subject Documentary went to "December 7th" by John Ford.

The other four nominees for Best Picture were "The Ox-Bow Incident", "Heaven Can Wait", "Madame Curie", and "In Which We Serve".

As indicated, we have only seen "Casablanca" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and so cannot make comment on the others at this point. We saw the remake in the 1970's of "Heaven Can Wait", but have never seen the original, at least for no more than a few minutes. We shall try to catch up soon and fill you in so that you may, at your informed discretion, attend these films or not in your local theaters and not waste your precious time and money on useless entertainment while a war is being fought.

Truth to tell, we mainly just like the popcorn and a large soft drink. Then we usually take a nice, long snooze and wake, stretch, and push on home, after the police, that is, roust us around midnight with their billy clubs striking the arches of the soles of our shoes sheltering our feet propped on the seats in front of us.

But, we do not talk during the film. That is particularly déclassé, manifesting to the world a proletarian's struggle to exhibit the discrete charm of the bourgeoisie, as if everyone in the theater cared for particular scene-by-scene analysis of the audaciously gregarious. It is particularly noisome when the offender has already seen the film and is saying to their companion such things as, "Just wait, look, he's about to kill her in about one minute and then he will run away and hide in the cellar and the police won't catch him before the end of the movie when the cat gives him away inside the carwash where he’s going to hide the body. This is a good movie, isn't it? I've seen it three times. Oh, right there, see. He's going to hide the knife in that dumb-waiter where he's standing."

Louis Lepke, head of Murder, Inc., had his last petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court summarily denied in an unusual Saturday action, leaving the convicted murderer to die in the electric chair at 11:00 p.m., short of another reprieve from Governor Thomas Dewey. It being an election year and Governor Dewey being touted as the reluctant likely candidate of his party for the presidency, there would be no reprieve, obtaining or not among the list of names of corrupt politicians doing business with Mr. Lepke, that of the Big Cheese. Mr. Lepke would this date die without further intervention.

We understand that, just before the condemned killer was led down the hall to the execution chamber, his ward leaned over and whispered, "Louis, I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

On the editorial page, "Hail, Chief" provides praise to Governor Broughton’s progressive statement on organized labor and the cause of equality among the races, in dramatic contrast to the South Carolina Legislature’s resolution condemning “damned agitators” from the North, followed quickly on its boot heels by their subsequent resolve of determined post-war renewal of isolationism with respect to Russia and Great Britain, seeking to have 48 places at the peace table, representing each of the states of the Union.

"A Strike" tells of the prospective ten-minute cessation of work to occur in Naples in protest of the Allied support of the Badoglio Government. The piece recommends that no one feel offended, that the Italians were not seeking to interrupt the progress of the war, but rather to make their simple symbolic statement en masse. The Allies were disserving their own interests should they interfere with the strike, were disserving their own interests should they not heed the advice of the Italian people and support, instead of Badoglio, the Six-Party Coalition.

"Bond Victory" indicates that Mecklenburg County had exceeded by seven million dollars its quota for the Fourth War Bond Drive.

"The Show" contrasts the Wayne Lonergan case in New York and its pervading carnival atmosphere, in which the facts were being subordinated to courtroom antics of the competing lawyers, rendering the trial a farce, with a statement of solicitor John Carpenter in Charlotte, in the trial re the death of wrestler Jim Clinstock, killed allegedly in self-defense by a dentist, as a police officer, apprised of the ongoing fight, chose not to respond for fear of the wrestler's might, that by haps he would be shot. Mr. Carpenter had indicated his intention not to seek a conviction, but rather only the facts.

It is an unusual statement for The News, the second time recently that praise had been provided Solicitor Carpenter, constantly a butt of criticism for sloth and failure of prosecutorial diligence while J. E. Dowd served as editor of the newspaper. Mr. Carpenter had not escaped these same criticisms within the tenure of Burke Davis during the previous fourteen months, but the paper had never before enunciated any positive regard for him.

Drew Pearson tells of Vice-President Wallace having ducked out of a photograph with political bosses Frank Hague of New Jersey and Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago at the 1940 Democratic Convention. On his recent return trip from his speaking tour across the country, the Vice-President had made a stop in Chicago and paid a visit to Mayor Kelly, who then refused to have his photograph taken with Mr. Wallace.

He next informs of the three-stage fighter protection provided American bombing raids, recently having completed the longest penetration, 550 miles, from the British bases into Germany. Typically, Thunderbolts would accompany the bombers halfway to the target, fending off enemy fighters and ground fire along the way, then, expended, would give way to an array of faster Lightnings, which would escort the bombers to the target, and, finally, the fastest of the planes, the Mustangs, would meet the squadrons at the target and bring them safely home.

Mr. Pearson then tells of the likelihood that a meeting in April of influential Republicans, featuring Herbert Hoover, Col. Bertie McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, and Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, would likely unite themselves around Thomas Dewey as the party nominee, in an effort early to present a unified face to the country, in contrast with the Democratic Party, newly torn and divided in the wake of the Barkley morass.

Mr. Pearson had good information. Yet, the country was obviously neither as impressed with Senator Barkley’s antics as the Republicans had hoped, nor with Governor Dewey, youthful, wedding-cake looks or no.

Former Republican National Chairman John Hamilton, finishing a cross-country anti-Willkie junket, kibitzed with Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce and California chairman of Wendell Willkie's campaign, Bartley Crum. Mr. Hamilton opined that Mr. Willkie was finished for the nomination, that he should end his candidacy and throw his support to either Bricker or Dewey. If he did so, he might, said Mr. Hamilton, have a chance to be appointed to a cabinet post. He admitted, however, that without Mr. Willkie's support, neither man could win in November. In rejoinder, Mr. Crum asserted that Mr. Willkie was therefore far from being finished.

Where Representative Luce, wife of Henry R. Luce, publisher of Time and Life, stood on the issue, is not indicated. Given her early notoriety during the first few months of her first of two terms in the Congress by producing the neologism "globaloney" in reference to the internationalist views of the world of which Henry Wallace and former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, along with Wendell Willkie, were primary exponents, it is a safe bet that she was on the side of Mr. Hamilton, opposed to Mr. Willkie again being the party nominee as in 1940. And that, despite her husband's magazines having elevated very quickly in 1940 Mr. Willkie to legendary status, especially Life's pictorials, manipulative of suckers who couldn't or didn't bother to read and had never learned how to interpret photographs, as merely frozen snapshots in time rather than framed images in capture of a person's spirit and soul.

Speaking of Ms. Luce, we happened just two days ago to be drawn to the October 5, 1962 issue of Life, wherein we found a remarkable article by Ms. Luce, appearing in the issue dated 11 days before presentation to the President of the evidence accumulated by the CIA flights over Cuba which had photographed the missile launchers and supply equipment, the evidence which began the Cuban Missile Crisis of the ensuing critical thirteen days, October 16 through 28, the most crucial fortnight in the history of mankind, even if a self-possessed and fast thinking President, surrounded by equally deliberative advisors, averted any untoward consequence which might well have ended civilization on the planet. Certainly, we would not be writing these words now had events been otherwise.

Said Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in A Thousand Days, principal among those of the Congressional delegation, who met with the President a few days into the crisis, favoring invasion of Cuba, an action which as it turned out would have precipitated nuclear war, was Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. Mr. Schlesinger indicated that once Senator Russell spoke, the others, including Arkansas Democrat J. William Fulbright, normally a restrained and reasonable voice, fell into line behind him.

We recommend that you read the Life article carefully and apprehend its implications, which are quite disturbing. A Republican Congressman had apparently received some advance word also of the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba, well before the President and the other members of the Executive Branch.

Was the Cuban Missile Crisis essentially a set-up by rightwing Republicans, not informing the President of the initial shipments of missile parts spotted on ships in covered wooden crates during August, with a view in mind of having the extreme rightwing, represented by Barry Goldwater, take over the country, first in the mid-term Congressional elections and then in the presidential election of 1964?

Were they the same responsible directly for the President's assassination 13 months afterward? Not any large conspiracy, but a typically very small one, certainly no larger than that which undertook the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. We believe the answer is self-evident at this point, with the long disturbing aftermath of American politics well in view. If you were born too late to understand what life was like in the country before the assassination of President Kennedy, you probably have trouble fully grasping to what extent that single event changed the country's mindset and made us into a society unduly suspicious of the outside world to the point of xenophobia, eventually corrosive always from within, tending toward fascism. We have never fully recovered from it. It is far the worse in its impact than any single event since.

If you disagree, argue the point intelligently. But do not try to lynch us or silence us or chill us.

And, incidentally, the photograph below, for your edification, a blow-up of the photo taken by Philip Willis in Dealey Plaza at frame 187 of the _________ film, showing Mr. Willis plainly taking that photograph, not at frame 202, 15/18ths of a second hence, as an erroneous account reads at Wicked-pedia, relying too readily, without thought or criticism, on a 32-year old report, now greatly outmoded by advances since in technology, and emanating from a heavily politicized committee of Congress, with pressure, from both the right and those blinded by the shining lights of the right, hard at work in the Klub Kar on the railroad at the time, to reach a conclusion as did the Warren Commisssion, albeit for the protection in 1978, not of national security as in 1964, but the guilty of the right, those of the ground-under railroad. Frame 202, you will note, shows Mr. Willis with his arms down by his side, having already snapped the photo.

While frame 202 is mentioned, as claimed in the Wicked-pedia, by the 1978 House Select Committee Report on Assassinations, as the point at which the photograph was taken (see page 50 of Appendix), that analysis is in error. Mr. Willis, who had also been present in the Army at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, claimed that he snapped the photograph just as the first shot was fired, that which was posited by the Warren Commission as a miss. Determining frame 202 to be that point is ascertained only by calculating backwards six seconds, at 18 frames per second, from the fatal shot at frame 313. Frame 187, where the photo was actually taken, occurs nearly one second earlier. Mr. Willis also contended adamantly that the fatal shot came from the direction of the knoll and not from above and directly across the streets from his location.

Examine the close-up below and you will see the companion to the "umbrella man", who was later identified and testified before the House Committee that he intended with the umbrella only to make a political statement on appeasement, the umbrella being symbolic of Neville Chamberlain, the opening of the umbrella just happening to coincide with the moment the firing in the plaza began. The umbrella man's companion, long identified as a dark-complected male appearing to be Hispanic, had his right arm drawn up in a peculiar fashion, to the center of his chest, at a point along the curb when he is perfectly within a line of view of the President. Was his hand empty?

In any event, when we make the familiar suggestion, here's to you, Ms. Luce, we do not mean by it a toast.

Samuel Grafton remarks that, in the aftermath of the electric excitement which charged the nation in the wake of the challenge to the President by Senator Barkley and the Congress re the veto of the tax bill, there was now still the lingering long issue for the future of how precisely the country would pay for the war, when, and by whom? Mr. Grafton finds the whole tenor of the episode to resemble France five years earlier when it was at odds with its Socialist leadership and was turning inward rather than being vigilant to the Rhine.

On the eleventh anniversary of President Roosevelt's first taking the oath of office as the 32d President of the United States, Marquis Childs contrasts his present condition, isolated from the country by war, increasingly at odds with the Congress, and without most of his inner coterie of confidantes who had propelled him to office and maintained him there, with that of the past before the war, when, as times got rough and pressured, as in 1937 and 1938, the President could take a train ride across the broad expanse before his window in Washington, speak to the citizens and obtain their feedback while feeling the pulse of the land through its voices, both of the ordinary folk and the local leaders. Now, the restrictions of war mandated the maintenance of tight vigil over the President's security; no longer could he go sailing. He was now finding it hard to obtain rest, especially in the previous ten days of tumult.

Of course, no one in the country fully appreciated that the burdens of the office, coupled with his physical impairment, would begin steadily to wear down his health until by the ensuing winter he would be a gaunt ghost of himself, by the early afternoon of April 12, no longer among the living. The trips to Tehran and Cairo had impacted his health adversely. The trip a year hence to Malta and Yalta would be the last straw. The November-December trip had caused Prime Minister Churchill to suffer his second bout with pneumonia within a year, but Churchill, while nine years senior to Roosevelt, was able to walk.

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